tv Eye on Washington CBS November 5, 2016 1:37am-2:07am PDT
washington, d.c. every week "eye on washington" takes you straight to capitol hill for a discussion with nevada's delegation and other leaders about the federal matters that matter to you. today's topic, a decade after the housing peak, owners are richer, but you, renters, are hurting. my special guest today to talk about it, rebekah king, a policy specialist with the national housing conference and the nhc is a washington, d.c.-based organization that advocates for policy and housing sustainability and affordability. and, rebekah, thanks so much for being here again. >> thanks for having me. >> if you are a nevada homeowner, things are sure better. equity up, foreclosures down. that dwelling again feels likes a happy home instead of a barely affordable burden you fear losing daily. if you are a renter, well, for many of you, your monthly payment has you losing sleep every night. today on "eye on washington,"
nevadans today. we're going to define severely housing burdened, a situation too many nevadans find themselves in today. and we'll learn what my guest says needs to happen on capitol hill to help make housing more affordable for nevadans and all americans. well, we do have good news for homeowners. only 1.1% of nevada homes are in foreclosure. it's a 33% down from this time a year ago. well, that is good news for the nevada economy it or you're again working and doing okay, but before you can own again you have to get your credit scores up, so right now you're renting, renters are facing a multitude of problems. first, there isn't enough housing available. and a housing shortage means rising prices. real estate website zillow says median rental prices are an all-time high of $946 a month.
we had you here several months ago, ms. king. good to see you again. you know, on top of all this, the nevada housing division says that a lack of multi-family inventory and land is causing a rental crisis. so years ago, renting was a great plan for those who couldn't afford a down payment and monthly mortgage. but now it's not so great, is it? >> it's not great. and it's because multiple factors have converged to make it really challenging for as you mentioned, supply is a problem. there's not enough multi-family and then certainly not enough affordable multi-family housing for working families. but it's also a question of incomes that don't match rents. rents are just outpacing incomes. and even with recent positive trends in family income, it's still not enough to make up for the years of stagnant wages and rapid increases to rents. >> and when you say recent kind of uptrends and upbeat
down. i mean things are a lot better. so, you know, you look at gs you think, well, great. people now who have lost their homes, they can't qualify to even get that new home. there's a shortage of rental homes. more people are renting. fewer structures are available. and as we're going to get into later, you have shared with me before the show the types of rentals that are available are not adequate for the larger families. >> right. >> and etc. el that as well. it would seem like news is good, but really underneath those good numbers there's some not so good news. >> it goes back to the systemic issue we have in this country where we don't have enough rental housing stock that's affordable. and so when we have more and more families that are renters across the country, but in nevada as well, and the pressures are just too much for the stock, so the prices are high. vacancies are low, so you
even if you could afford it. so it's just really difficult for working families, especially if you are a large family. it's hard to find a two-bedroom unit that's affordable, let alone a four-bedroom unit if you have multiple children. >> is the national housing conference seeing the same situation nationwide? are there pockets of the country like nevada, etc., that are seeing it worse? >> yes. so we are seeing it across the country, california, new york as but many communities are really struggling with this issue. even places that were hit really hard by the foreclosure crisis like nevada are still facing housing affordability challenges. >> and affordability is one of the top concerns of the nhc, isn't it? >> yes, very much so. we are very focused on affordable housing for all that is safe and good quality housing. >> getting to the quality
into it more later in the program. but it isn't even -- quality and quantity, when you have a family of even three, a family of four, a big family of five or six, there are fewer and fewer rental availabilities, aren't there? >> yes. in terms of apartments, it's very challenging to find them that can serve your family without forcing you to do some overcrowding and doubling up in terms of maybe you can only find a three bedroom so there's lots of sharing of spaces which can be challenging. >> how much worse would things need to get in nevada until this is a true rental crisis? or are we almost there? >> i think we are there. we are in a rental affordability crisis across the country and in nevada as well. >> when we return, do you fit the nhc's criteria for severely housing burdened? we're going to define it and find out where you fit right after this.
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hot meal and say hello. volunteer by donating your lunch break at americaletsdolunch.org. >> welcome back to "eye on washington," our discussion of how more and more nevadans are struggling to pay the monthly rent and what one washington-based organization is doing on the hill to advocate for affordability and accessibility. my special guest today is ms. rebekah king policy specialist for the national housing conference. in nevada, if you make minimum work a sleep-deprived 89 hours a week just to pay your rent? in the las vegas metro 117,000 or 16% of households spend at least half their income on housing costs. in las vegas, 22% of renters spend at least half their income on housing. that includes both low and moderate income working households. meanwhile in reno, the income needed for a one bedroom
statewide to afford a two-bedroom unit, rental unit, you'd need to earn $38,000 a year. you want some worse news? the nhc reports that one in four working renting households is severely housing burdened. 24.2% of all renter households experience a severe housing cost burden. that compares to 9.7% of all homeowners. so, ms. king, your association sa what's called severely housing burdened. tell us exactly what that means. >> so severely housing cost burdened means that you as a family are spending half of your income or more on rent. so the normal standard for affordability is 30% of your income or less on your housing costs. so you are already cost burdened if you are spending, say, 35% of your income. but if you are at 50% or more, then you have crossed over
burdened which means you just have insufficient funds for food, for medical care, for education for your children. it's a real challenge. >> the american dream is to own a home. and now ownership has gotten so much easier and better for so many people. but renting not only isn't a dream, i mean for some people it's a nightmare of long hours, high costs. as we have said earlier, insufficient space in the unit. >> yeah. and it's unfortunate because in a number of markets across the country, including some in nevada, home ownership is affordable in that house prices are affordable to working families. but because working families are struggling so much to pay their rent, saving up for a down payment and making that purchase becomes almost impossible. so they can't transition out into potentially a more affordable way to live. >> if a person finds themself
person and their family, what does the nhc recommend? what steps are there that make life feel less like you're just working and paying the rent? what are some things you can do? >> so we recommend that households reach out to their local housing agency or housing department and see what resources they have available to help with housing costs and also to connect with a housing counselor who can help with their budget and maybe could save a little extra. >> i saw the nhc's 2016 paycheck-to-paycheck report and looked at housing affordability for education workers. found that school bus drivers and child care workers would struggle to afford a one-bedroom apartment. so basically, a school bus driver or a child care worker in las vegas was the example they were giving here, could
>> that's right. we have a problem in many cities, including las vegas and reno in nevada where our education workers are supporting our children, caring for our children and not earning enough to afford a decent place to live. >> when you were here in may, nevada ranked 19th in the nation for highest housing wage required to afford a modest apartment. are things any better at all? or by the things you are sharing today, things sound worse. >> if things aren't worse, they are basically the same which isn't great. >> no. you don't want to tread water here. >> no. and when we're treading water, actually things will get worse because we're not building enough supply to make things better in the long-term. >> you know, i mentioned that the cost of a two-bedroom apartment and what you'd need to make monthly to live there. if you are a bigger family, you'd need to make a lot more
nhc stats say you would need to bring in $66,000 a year to afford a four-bedroom apartment in nevada. >> that's right. so the low-income housing coalition has also done research on this. and if you are a janitor, for example, you make enough in many places to afford a one-bedroom apartment perhaps. but if you have a large family -- >> got a big family. >> you're not going to make enough. >> what if your spouse is taking care of the children, not working? you've got one income. you know, we should point out as well, ms. king, that 44% of nevadans are renters. so this affects a top of people watching and listening to this program statewide, doesn't it? >> yes. and when you talk about those statistics, 22% of renters being severely cost burdened, that's one in five. that's such a high ratio of renters that are really struggling. >> we have so many financial things we are all struggling with. but you just -- i don't know. you take on that extra burden
>> and welcome back to "eye on washington." our discussion of efforts to help those of you struggling with afford to stay in your apartment. we have been visiting with ms. rebekah king, policy specialist for the nevada housing conference. nearly 1/4 of households in clark and washoe counties have at least one of these three problems. affordability, overcrowding or lack of kitchen or plumbing facilities. that's according to 2016
we have covered affordability. so let's look at those other two now. as it gets harder to afford to pay the rent, people have to double up. so overcrowding is becoming more common. that means a more stressful living environment. renters are living in homes too small that aren't designed for so many extra people. overcrowding also is happening due to larger families being unable to find or afford places with sufficient number of bedrooms. plumbing facilities, my guest's organization, the nhc says that for nevada, that's largely in the state's rural areas. and this is the deal. since according to ruralhealth.org, one of the top social determinants for health is one's ability to have just basic kitchen or complete plumbing. and ms. king, even if you are somehow paying the rent, you might be living in a very unhealthy dwelling, especially if you are watching or
nevada's rural areas. is that correct? >> yes. what we see across the country in rural areas especially is while the rent may be affordable or the house may be owned by the family living there, it's not good quality. and they don't have the resources to fix it if they own the home or the landlord may be choosing not to fix it because either they can't afford to or they don't want to. >> so i mean it's really something extra to consider. it's not necessarily great news if you just, quote, find a dwelling. if it lacks basic, just basic plumbing that you need or if it's too for you and your family or these extra people, you have had to take in to make it affordable, you are not living in a comfortable situation. >> no.
research is this key intersection between housing and health. if you are not living in good quality housing, the potential that you are facing asthma issues or have lead-based paint or asbestos which is incredible harmful to children or just the stress of a difficult living environment, not being able to afford your rent can cause mental health challenges, again making it very challenging for you to stay employed or get a job even because you are balancing so many health challenges because of the quality of your housing in addition to being unaffordable. >> which of these three in your guesstimation is the worst for nevada? is it the affordability issue, the overcrowding issue or the plumbing and other basic needs issues? >> i would say affordability overall. i think in rural communities, there probably are some significant housing quality challenges as well, but affordability primarily. >> we have talked with you and
group's top priorities. and that's neighborhood stabilization. how does a family's overcrowded home and another's unkept home, you know, another's different in a rental community, how does that stabilization -- it's not just affecting the neighborhood either, is it? it can affect whole communities. and if the problem is bad enough, it affects the whole so we like to think we live in our individual unit all by ourselves independently. t we do impact the people around us in terms of if we are unable to care for our home or our landlord is unable to care for our property, it impacts property values. so they are negatively affected and that also affects your tax base. >> that would affect rentals, too, because people don't want to rent in the area. >> right. it makes the neighborhood look run down. and even if it's good,
down, people make assumptions. it may be harder to get resources to that community, that neighborhood. and then it just continues to slide further down into deterioration. >> and it just grows community wide and grows out from there, is that correct? >> right. it's important to have local programs that can help neighborhoods work on things like housing quality and cleaning up vacant lots so that the whole neighborhood benefits. >> okay. and when we return, your housing questions an from foreclosure news to how to age in place and so much more. nhc has the answers for you.
i want to get to what you think needs to happen on the hill to make housing more affordable. but i do want to give you a chance first. nhc does so much. and i want to encourage our viewers and listeners statewide to go to nhc.org to find out so much more about how the organization can help you on the issues we have talked about today. but i have been to your site many times. and from affordability and stabilization to what's happening in each pocket of the state, etc. and the country, nhc offers a lot. the top reasons your organization exists really are for the affordability and stabilization but it does offer so much more, doesn't it? >> yes. so we again are focused on affordable housing for all. and to do that, we work on policy issues. we do housing research around affordability, housing intersections like i mentioned with health or education. and also how to create
everyone is welcome and can live. >> and quickly, on today's topic, what can the federal government do to -- what needs to happen on the hill to help nevadans better afford rents and have more stable neighborhoods? >> we need the federal government to make a much stronger commitment to affordable housing. to recognize its importance, its crisis level and provide resources and support to make that happen in local and state communities. >> thanks so much for being here today. >> glad to be here. >> good information. thank you. that does wrap it up for today's "eye on washington." but we are always here for you providing the top federal news that nevadans need to know. just visit our website, joycecommunications.com where you can subscribe to our nevada's "washington watch" newsletter. that is it for this week's "eye on washington." i'm marilee joyce in washinon, d.c.
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